Acorn Squash Spinach Salad is the perfect salad for fall!
I’m a bit of a spice hoarder. It can’t be stopped. I think I have more bottles of cumin, chipotle and sumac than I know what to do with. But could you even imagine what would happen if I ran out one day? Things wouldn’t end well.
I think spices are one of the keys to making memorable meals! They can spice things up in an instant, or give things an herby finish. We use them obsessively in my house!
When the folks over at McCormick® & Co asked me to create a recipe using 4 ingredients, acorn squash, honey, McCormick® Chipotle Chile Pepper and pecans for their Go4Gourmet challenge, I was like done and done! Let’s get into this.
It all started with the acorn squash. I dragged myself out of bed last weekend and was one of the first people at the farmers market. I grabbed 3 yellow acorn squash, because they didn’t have the green ones, and went home to get busy! Acorn squash is just SO FREAKING PRETTY. I mean look at those beauties….
I dusted the squash with some olive oil, Chipotle Chile Pepper, kosher salt and pepper and roasted it off in the oven until it was tender. Meanwhile, I used the honey to whip up a honey balsamic dressing, chopped some pecans, threw a bunch of spinach in a big bowl and brought out my all time favorite blue cheese to finish things off. The blue cheese was the perfect thing to counteract the heat from the Chipotle Chile Pepper. I didn’t want to mask it, but I did want to provide a little somethin’ somethin’ to sooth your mouth after that fab smoky Chipotle Chile hits your taste buds.
We tossed it all together right before dinner and the rest is history! This is the perfect salad for these fall months. Plus, added bonus, if you living somewhere cold (besides LA of course because it never gets below 60 degrees) the Chipotle Chile Pepper will warm you right up! Kind of like chicken soup, but with more pizzazz!
Acorn Squash Spinach Salad
- 2 medium acorn squashes
- 5 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Chipotle Chile Pepper
- 2 handfuls baby spinach
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut the unpeeled in half from top to bottom. Turn the squash on its flat side and cut 1/2-inch slices and place them on a baking sheet. Using a spoon, remove any of the seeds from the cut squash.
- Drizzle the sections with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and dust with the Chipotle Chile Pepper. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the oven and roast the squash for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, check to see if the squash of tender, if not, roast for another 5-10 minutes until tender and then remove.
- In a large salad bowl, toss together the spinach, blue cheese, pecans and roasted squash.
- Whisk together the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey. Season the dressing with salt and pepper and then drizzle over the salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.